The federal government directs states to provide the grants to homeowners with incomes equal to or less than 100% of the area median income for their household size. However, states were allowed to increase the income eligibility pool to those earning 150% of the area median income if funding was being allocated to “socially disadvantaged” individuals, defined by the federal government as Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Other individuals earning between 100% and 150% would be ineligible.
The program formally launched last week and focuses only on those with an income equal to or less than 100% of the area median income for their household size
“It’s a relief the Evers administration recognized the clear constitutional and legal problems we identified in the design of this program and fixed them before any money was distributed,” WILL deputy counsel Dan Lennington said in a statement. “The program is now open to all Wisconsinites, regardless of race, and that’s great news.”
The state Department of Administration estimated there are more than 914,000 Wisconsin households earning between 100% and 150% of the area median income, according to a letter WILL sent Evers earlier this year. Almost 60,900 of those households meet the federal government’s definition of “socially disadvantaged,” while the remaining more than 850,000 households are white.